Alan Jackson is back at country radio with a new single, and it’s a tear-jerker. The 62-year-old is releasing “You’ll Always Be My Baby,” from his recent Where Have You Gone, album. Jackson wrote the song for his eldest daughter Mattie’s wedding to the late Ben Selecman, who passed away in a boating accident after less than a year of marriage. Jackson, who said he planned on singing “You’ll Always Be My Baby” for all three of his daughters, vividly recalls Selecman’s response when he first heard the touching song.
“I think all three of them were very touched by it, but [what] I remember more was Mattie’s husband, Ben,” Jackson shares with UMG Nashville. “I remember we were at home and said we had written this thing. I had a rough demo of it or something. And we went out in the garage and sat in the truck because I didn’t have any way to play it in the house … We played it and I remember him looking emotional about it and saying that was just perfect or something to that effect. And that stuck with me.”
Selecman passed away in 2018, a loss his father-in-law still deeply mourns.
“When he died, I was kind of pissed off at the world,” Jackson admits to HITS Daily Double. “I just wasn’t feeling right about anything. You know how I was raised: I grew up with four older sisters, then Denise and our three girls. It’s all I was ever around: girls and women. So having a son-in-law was having a boy I could fish with, work on cars and stuff with. It was tough losing him so suddenly—so jarring to all of us. I lost something I’d never had before.”
Jackson, who said “You’ll Always Be My Baby” is based on real memories and real life events, already used the song for his daughter Ali’s wedding last year, and plans to use it if Dani ever decides to get married as well.
“I told my other two girls, I said ‘Look, I’m just going to write one song and all three of y’all can use it for your dance if you want to,'” Jackson recounts. I said, ‘I don’t want to have to write three different songs.’ So, I’ve used it twice now.”
Jackson is spending much of the remainder of the year on the road. Find tour dates, and purchase Where Have You Gone, at AlanJackson.com.